A relaxed and tanned university student, Chris Williams proudly presents his weaving sample to Dear Tourist as we sit down with him.
It was Chris’s last day in Samoa yesterday and he had planned to live the Samoan experience down to the last minute as he weaved his way through his last few hours on our island.
Chris is originally from the U.K. but is currently attending Victoria University in New Zealand on an exchange programme.
The pressures and stress of studying and examinations led him to making a spur of the moment decision to come here to Samoa with a 24-hour sale from Air New Zealand to sweeten the deal.
“There was a 24-hour deal through New Zealand and I panicked and bought flights, I didn’t know how long to stay for so I stayed longer and making most of my time here,” he said.
“I always wanted to go to the Pacific Islands and Samoa looked like a good mix of culture and not too touristy. Fiji looked a bit too much and Samoa just looks nice.”
Having two weeks to play with, Chris has managed to stay in a variety of places since he has been here, with one particular place that he will remember for a long time.
“It was very spur of the moment and I’ve been staying at a mixture of places,” he said.
“I started off in Dave Parker’s eco lodge which was very nice and really good value for money. I went to Namu’a Island – I had the whole beach to myself pretty much. They leave you by yourself overnight and they stay at home.
“No one was there the night that I was there. It was quite cool, I wasn’t scared and there was a dog there for company. It was just nice and relaxing with a beach with warm water to swim in.”
As a student of environmental science, Chris has a particular interest in Samoa’s natural resources.
“I went to Savai’i for a few days. I stayed in the Savai’ian Hotel which was really good value for money and then went around the whole island.
It’s a lot less developed but it’s probably like more natural and beautiful with the volcanoes and lots of rainforests.
“New Zealand has a mixture of everything but Samoa is very ‘rain-forestry’ and hot and I think that climate change is a big factor here with cyclones and things, especially this year might be a big year for cyclones but I’m not sure. I heard last year there weren’t many. This year I think the storm season is quite strong.”
For the rest of his time in New Zealand, Chris hopes to explore the Pacific as much as possible knowing that when he returns to the U.K., Oceania will once again become that place to him which most Europeans would consider “too far to travel”, but then he hopes that his tales of his Pacific adventures will entice his family and friends to travel the distance in the near future.